Up Late and Having a Ball
Dirk Desouza reports back from Miami's most interesting fêtes.
October 01, 2012
Save for the fixed-gear bicycle route between The Electric Pickle Company, Panther Coffee, or Grand Central, The Standard Spa, Miami Beach reigns supreme as the hipster epicenter of the Miami-verse, what with its Scandinavian vibe, André Balazs NY/ LA street cred, and omnipresent ping-pong table. The latter apparatus came in handy when ping-pong enthusiast network SPiN Social and winemaker Chandon sponsored the Bayside BBQ & Ping Pong Tournament, summoning teams from The Webster, Poplife, Wildfox, and The Daily for some civilized table-tennis wars. Torrential rains (oh, Miami) forced the paddle battle inside to the wood-clad, denim-couched lobby bar, where it was all balls flying, bubbly bubbling, and packed with mustaches, American Apparel T-shirts, and rolled-up jeans that screamed, “I pedaled here across the Venetian.” For sure, it was hot in there, as teams sweated, drank, and ping-ponged while DJs Devin Lucien and Johnny The Boy pumped nu-disco. This was no ordinary table-tennis fête—the exceptionally attired (read: almost naked) emcee, Kazuyuki Yokoyama, donned disco-ball glitter shorts and gloves only Michael Jackson could love, while the likes of Sebastian Puga, Jake Jefferson, Aramís Lorié, Veronica Gessa, and Dustin Heil mingled with smoldering hot couple Kelly Ann and girlfriend Kathy Rigal. A semi-odd sighting? David Grutman, the impresario of LIV nightclub, held court on a couch before retiring for a cigarette—who knew he was so “downtown”? To support, even Puga’s nonmodel sister, Romina Puga, ventured south from New York, having just been plucked from obscurity by American Eagle Outfitters, her chic visage gracing a mega-billboard in Times Square itself. Which team won? Who cares? There was no better way, at least on that day, to spend a Sunday.
Media insider Maria Argüello threw herself quite the birthday party, summarily taking over The Federal Miami, the discreet neo-Americana eatery just south of MiMo, where the town’s media elite gathered for endless wine and family-style comfort treats, such as the OMFG-that’s-delicious Jar- O-Duck, a decadent hoedown of candied sweet potato, “charred fluff,” and slow-cooked Hudson Valley fowl. Slide show life-retrospective wall projection? Yes. Suzy Buckley Woodward, Josh Woodward, John Lin, Bill Kearney, and Liz Newman holding down a table? Absolutely. Overcome by emotion, Argüello, looking fab in siren red, took a patio breather with Erica Fickling and Ernest Reyes, while PR masters Jourdan Binder and Lorelle Khan and bloggers Annie Vazquez and Sara Liss mingled, laughed, and awaited the big birthday sing-along. When 80 people show up to your birthday on a Monday night, you’re doing something right.
The hottest band from Rio de Janeiro summarily pummeled The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater with positive vibes. O Rappa (pronounced “uh hah pah”) represented the best of Brazil, salting and peppering the crowd with a dizzying array of rock, reggae, funk, ska, hip-hop, and samba. Only days off from its prestigious main-stage stint at Chicago’s Lollapalooza, hand-picked by festival cofounder Perry Farrell himself, the band, led by the mesmerizingly dreadlocked singer Marcelo Falcão, proved why many have called him the Bob Marley of Brazil. Rarely has rapping about social change and equality seemed so real. And there’s something quite special about Brazilian crowds—they’re so good-natured, so happy, so dance-y, some of them so curvy, even The Rhythm Foundation’s James and Laura Quinlan and promoter Alan Roth couldn’t resist chanting along, “Uh hah pah! Uh hah pah!,” everyone lost deep below the equator.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LUIS OLAZABAL (O RAPPA); MATT ROOT/WORLDREDEYE.COM (RIGAL, LOEB, FERNANDEZ)